In Silverview, John le Carré turns his focus to the world that occupied his writing for the past 60 years - the secret world itself.
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the City for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian's evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish émigré living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian's family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise.
When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea....
Silverview is the mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In his inimitable voice, John le Carré, the greatest chronicler of our age, seeks to answer the question of what we truly owe to the people we love.
My second time reading John Le Carre's work having read the first Smiley book over a decade ago. Le Carre is one of those authors whose work I hoovered up determined to read it all. Not going very well really, is it? Silverview is his last published work and appeared posthumously after the author's death in 2020.
It's quite a short book and I'm probably going to listen to it again at some point in the hope of understanding it all a bit better.
Spies, retired spies, dying spies, the daughter of spies, a banker turned bookseller, secrets, cultivated friendships, relationships, duplicity, errands, connections, leaks, intelligence concerns, death, grief, love, betrayal, duty, service, disenchantment and a lot more besides.
I enjoyed it, even if I didn't fully comprehend what it was trying to tell me. Some folks, better acquainted with Le Carre's work than me have opined that there's maybe an unfinished/work-in-progress feel to the book, that perhaps Le Carre wasn't quite done with it. I don't know.
I was entertained. I liked the writing, the characters, and the story. I enjoy relationship dynamics and how people connect with each other, with what they reveal and what they hide and the subtle ways they manipulate and direct others. Maybe when I've read more of his work, I can properly judge whether it's one of his better books or not. For now, I liked it.
4 from 5
Read - (listened to) February, 2022
Published - 2021
Page count - 216 (6 hrs 29 mins)
Source - Audible purchase
Format - Audible